Bottoms up to Beaujolais

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There's never a bad time to take a short break in France - like in mid-November, when the Beaujolais nouveau goes on sale. Sounds like a good reason to us...

Producing a fine bottle of wine is normally a lengthy process, but haste is at the heart of the Beaujolais nouveau phenomenon. These light and fruity reds go on a sale at the stroke of midnight a mere six weeks after the harvest.

Although the fuss has ebbed since its 1980s heyday, you can't keep a good wine down, and the debut of the year's supply has started to get people excited again. Beaujolais' captial, Beaujeu, welcomes its new batch with the Sarmentelles de Beaujeu - five days of celebration, starting on 18 November with a torch-lit parade, tasting competitions and barrels of the good stuff on offer.

How to get there:

Beaujeu's nearest airport is in Lyon, 30 miles to the southeast, and it's a 50-minute drive from Lyon to Beaujeu.  During the festival, a bus runs from Lyon to Beaujeu, leaving at 7pm and departing Beaujeu on the return at 1am  (£3.50 return).

This article is an extract from from Lonely Planet Magazine

Fancy a bit more of this delicious region? Download the Lyon & the Rhone Valley chapter from our latest France guide.